Before I entered the convent, I made a resolution to stop wearing makeup and high heels. I figured I might as well get used to it.
From that example you can probably deduce that I am a fan of practical, attainable New Year’s resolutions.
I think realistic resolutions acknowledge our limited human nature while at the same time they guide us to trust in the Lord who will help us make real, concrete steps to become better people, on a human and a spiritual level.
Each year in addition to making resolutions, I usually pick a patron saint to accompany me that year. One year it was St. Thomas Aquinas. Another year St. Thomas More. I love this practice because it helps me to realize that my resolutions, whatever they are, should be focused on becoming a better person. But it is not perfection that I am striving for, it is sanctity. Holiness. I want to become a saint.
This year I used Jennifer Fulwiler’s Saint Generator to pick my patron saint of the year and I also decided to look to the Saints (and other holy people) for some ideas for New Year’s resolutions.
Here’s what I came up with…
1. St. Basil the Great – More Almsgiving: As a nun you might think I am exempt from worrying too much about almsgiving and tithing. Unfortunately, I have taken that approach too. But recently my conscience was pricked and I realized that I really should consider how I can use the extra things that I have, in addition to a portion of my monthly allowance as meager as it is, to contribute to the Church and to the poor.
As St. Basil reminds us all:
The bread you store up belongs to the hungry; the cloak that lies in your chest belongs to the naked; the gold you have hidden in the ground belongs to the poor.
2. G.K. Chesterton – Read More Books: In the midst of a busy apostolate I have found that I really need to make more time to read good old-fashioned books. Reading is good for the soul.
I think G.K. Chesterton would heartily support this resolution. He once said:
A room without books is like a body without a soul.
3. St. Thérèse of Lisieux – Focus on Heaven: This is a continuing resolution from last year. I want to learn more about heaven. Last year I began reading more about heaven. I resolve to finish the book I started a while ago very soon, and to continue to learn more about heaven, the resurrection and how knowledge of these things can change my life now.
As St. Thérèse of Lisieux once wrote:
Let us go forward in peace, our eyes upon heaven, the only one goal of our labors.
4. St. Ignatius of Loyola – Eat Healthy Food: Some of my sisters will laugh that this is one of my resolutions because they know that I am an avid fan of Whole Foods and I regularly bemoan the dangers of trans fats. But the truth is that my busyness sometimes gets in the way of eating well. I am sure many of you can relate. But I also know that eating healthy can be connected to spiritual health.
St. Ignatius tells us this:
It is not the soul alone that should be healthy; if the mind is healthy in a healthy body, all will be healthy and much better prepared to give God greater service.
5. Dorothy Day – Invest in Friendship: I am a bit of a loner. I don’t jump on bandwagons very easily (even good ones) and I tend to walk to a different drumbeat than most people. These personality traits can be positive but they also can lead to loneliness and distance from others, which is not always good. So, this year I feel an invitation from the Lord to invest more in friendship and community, not as a distraction from the loneliness of being human but as a reminder that the Lord is present in others.
As Dorothy Day reminds us:
We have all known the long loneliness, and we have found that the answer is community.
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I hope you make some good resolutions. If you have not made any, maybe you can look up some quotes from the Saints to inspire you. If you have already made some resolutions, maybe you can find some quotes that go along with your resolution.
I would love to hear from you in the comments if you find any Saints quotes and/or have any New Year’s resolutions that you would like to share!